The Forgotten Generation: Why A Gen X Career Needs More Attention
If you’re feeling unfulfilled by your Gen X career, this episode is for you. Kay Kirkman stops by the podcast to help you get unstuck and move toward work you really want to do.
Have you been stuck in the same job for years and wondering what else is out there? You’re not alone! The good news is that it’s never too late to make a change. Kay Kirkman, an expert on career transitions, joins the podcast to help Gen Xers like you break free from your job rut and move towards work that truly fulfills you.
In this episode we discussed:
- An explanation of who is included in Gen X
- What makes a Gen X career unique from that of a Baby Boomer or Millennial
- How Gen Xers can learn to communicate their value at work
- Why learning to pivot is a critical skill for this group
- Steps to building your career passion
Unique Struggles of Gen X Professionals
Gen X professionals often find themselves caught between the ages of two generations – the Baby Boomers and Millennials. While they experience all the challenges that come with pursuing a career, their life circumstances are often unique to them.
For Gen Xers just entering or mid-career, competing for jobs in a market dominated by more knowledgeable Millennials can be an intimidating experience. Additionally, Gen Xers often have an obligation to care for aging parents and adult children at the same time. In order to better understand these challenges, it is important to recognize what makes this generation so distinct from its predecessors and successors.
To progress in a Gen X career, you must learn how to navigate these unique obstacles in order to continue moving forward.
Why Gen Xers feel Unfulfilled
Generation Xers, born between 1965 and 1980, are finding themselves feeling unfulfilled in their careers. With the ever-evolving technological revolution, many Gen Xers are struggling to keep up with the changes and find their place in the world.
Many Gen Xers feel as if they haven’t been given the same opportunities for advancement compared to other generations. They often lack access to mentors and resources needed for career development that give younger generations an advantage. Many have also taken over family businesses or opted to work in lower paying jobs due to a lack of financial security coming out of college.
Despite these challenges, there are ways for Gen Xers to take control of their career path and begin finding fulfillment again.
Taking Charge of your Gen X Career
Gen Xers have the potential to take charge of their careers in a number of ways. It is important to stay abreast of industry trends, utilize technology and networks, and develop a career plan that reflects an individual’s interests and abilities. Striving for continuous learning, networking, and self-development can help Gen Xers navigate the professional landscape with confidence and success.
Who is Kay Kirkman?
Kay Kirkman is a speaker, a trainer, a career coach and is also the founder of Kirkman Communications, a career development company based in Atlanta GA. She’s the host of the GenX Career Show, a podcast that helps GenX Professionals discover their career passion and find the work in this world that they were meant to do.
She has spoken internationally, most recently at “A Woman’s Narrative” a female empowerment conference in Paris, France, and has also conducted career development training workshops throughout the US on topics ranging from Emotional Intelligence and Communication Skills to Business Writing and Public Speaking.
Resources mentioned in this episode:
If you’re not sure where to start with finding your Gen X Career passion, get your Dream Job Discovery list from Kay at https://joyfuldreamlife.com
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Welcome to the your confidence self podcast with Allegra Sinclair. Get ready to punch fear in the throat and gain confidence like never before. I help corporate women get the confidence to ask for the job they want and do the work they love. Isn’t it time you got unstuck and showed the world how fabulous you are?
Hey, this is Allegra Welcome to this week’s episode of the podcast. I’m always super excited for my guests, because I get good guests. But I’m really excited today, partly because of the way I met this person because it was total universe divine appointment, and partly because of the magic that she brings. So today, my guest is Kay Kirkman, and she’s a speaker, a trainer, a career coach, and as the founder of Kirkman communications, which is a career development company based in Atlanta. She’s also the host of the Gen X career show, which is a podcast that helps Gen X professionals discover their career passion, and find the work in this world that they were meant to do. An international speaker. She has conducted career development training workshops throughout the US on topics ranging from emotional intelligence and communication skills to business writing, and public speaking. Please welcome Kay Kirkman. Hi, Kay.
Kay Kirkman 1:40
Hi, Allegra. How are you?
Allegra Sinclair 1:43
I am glorious. I am excited to talk with you. It’s taken us a little bit of time to get on the calendar. But good things come to those who wait.
Kay Kirkman 1:57
Absolutely. And you are worth the wait to me.
Allegra Sinclair 2:05
Thank you that is very flattering. So I’m going to say very quickly that you and I met in a completely different setting. You were getting ready to start your podcast and I was helping you with something super technical. And like two minutes into the conversation. I was like, Oh, yes, this chick right here, I need to talk to her more.
Kay Kirkman 2:27
How did we even I mean, we just connected like we had known each other for all of our lives. It was the craziest thing.
Allegra Sinclair 2:35
And that doesn’t happen to me all the time. But when we met I say it was one of those divine appointments. And it just tickled me that we liked each other immediately and could just talk and talk and talk.
Kay Kirkman 2:58
Yes, we have done that.
Allegra Sinclair 3:04
There’s ample evidence that one of your areas or zones of genius that I wanted to give you an opportunity to pour onto my audience is, you said that your show is a Gen X career show. And I said to you, Gen X. Who is that? What period of time is like, Who do you need? So who is Gen X? And why do they need their own career show?
Kay Kirkman 3:33
You know what, Allegra? I am so glad you asked me that question. Because it’s a question that I get a lot, because Gen X seems to be almost the Forgotten generation. So just for clarity of clarification, Gen X is would be described as someone born between 1965 in 1979. So generally at this point, it be in your early 40s, mid 50s, right early to mid 50s. So that’s the age range that we’re talking about. And a lot of times for some reason, Gen X is left out of the conversation, especially when we talk about career, right, because you look at careers, a lot of times we’re always talking about millennials, right because they are the largest devil right now in the workforce. And so a lot of times the conversation is about how to engage millennials. What do millennials want? What do they want to their career, etc. And Gen X seems to be left out of the conversation.
And the other reason why I felt like Gen Xers, as I affectionately call them I don’t know, I don’t know what other people call them. But Gen Xers needed their own specific focus on my podcast is that a lot of times we’re entering this age where, too So we’re in, let’s say, we’re in our early 50s. We’re at that stage where we’re no longer figuring it out in terms of our career, theoretically, right? Some of us still might be like, we’re still figuring it out? Well, you know, I say theoretically, right? So, society looks at us like, Okay, this is a person who has had a multitude of experience in a particular area, nine times out of 10. At this, in this age range, you’ve been doing something for quite some time, theoretically.
So the the idea that you would transition into something else, it’s more challenging. And it’s also more challenging to think about trying to do something else, or finding a passion, when you’ve kind of been coasting or sailing along, or what you’ve been doing previously, for a long period of time. So I think it’s an area where we’re going through a lot of different changes. I mean, just physically, you know, we’re starting to kind of see maybe some limitations and what our body can do, we’re starting to have aging parents who might be having health challenges, or we may even have to take care of aging parents, right. So that’s going to factor in the type of work that maybe we do, the flexibility that we need, our needs are changing.
At this particular time, in terms of what we require from our work, we might be burnt out at this time. So there are a lot of specific challenges that we start to see with the Gen X demographic that I felt needed to be addressed specifically in terms of going after a passion or something that you’ve always wanted to do. It’s very different now than it would have been in your 20s or 30s. Or even as you look more towards retirement, which the baby boomer generation is doing. So that’s why I really wanted to focus on Gen X. The other reason is, I’m a Gen X. So I feel like I have the perspective of I’m going through all of these things, as I’m sharing with my audience on my podcast, as I’m speaking with my coaching clients, when they come to me. So that’s, that’s really was my thinking in focusing on the Gen X demographic for a podcast.
Allegra Sinclair 7:27
So there’s a lot of meat on that bone. There were several bone, and they were all meaty. All those different things. It’s fascinating to think that it’s kind of like we went from talking about baby boomers to talking about millennials, and I feel that I cosign, I think I have seen that. Why do you think that is? So why was Gen X kind of ignored? And there seem to be more energy around helping baby boomers figure out what to do in retirement, and helping millennials? So why the lack of attention for Gen X?
Kay Kirkman 8:07
Yeah, it’s an interesting question. I think that if you look at our age group, the Gen X age group, I feel like if you think about it, so we were kind of the generation where, and I right now I’m about to do a lot of generalizations. And maybe even so forgive me, if this does not apply to you, then it does not apply to you. But I’ll go to just, let’s say, my own experience. For a lot of us, we were we were brought up in a time where our parents are specifically both parents were out of the home working, right. And so if we look at the previous Baby Boomer generation, it was more so a generation where let’s say, maybe the mom didn’t work or, you know, it was that type of thing. So we’re moving into a time when both parents are in the workforce. We’re kind of forced to our own devices, actually, this generation is actually called the latchkey kids as well. Have you heard that term? Yes. A lot. Yes, a lot. Were you latch key?
Allegra Sinclair 9:11
I was both was very funny. When I was young. I’m, I’m in Gen X as well, but I’m old enough in Gen X to have been around at a time when moms still were in the home, like I can remember my dad not want mom to work because that would reflect negatively on him and, you know, tell the world that he could not is he was a good provider to work. Right. So but then I do remember my mom working but she was you know, working like at the school because that was an appropriate thing for a mom to do. And it wasn’t that her husband couldn’t provide. It was that she wanted to be more involved with her children. It is fascinating to look at, but I definitely key in that there came a time when both my parents were working. I didn’t have that thing. I didn’t come home to An empty home, right? Because the school so when school was over, we all together. But later I definitely did experience some of that where both my parents were out working. And my brothers were left to our own devices.
Kay Kirkman 10:31
But yeah, I think that you know what, and as I think about it, because, you know, for many of us, and even just even for me, my parents, I always have both parents working. So that was always something that was happening. But I think Gen X, that was the first generation where that was seen, it wasn’t seen as taboo for let’s say, if you had to, if you had two parents in the home, for the, for the mom to go out and work, like it was more so of you saw, you know, both parents working, and it was what kind of like what you said about your mom, you know, she went out, and it was like she was working outside of the home, not necessarily because she had to, but she wanted some sort of fulfillment, or it was something that she wanted to do.
So I think that that to be a little bit more acceptable with our generation. So I think that maybe we saw a difference in terms of of, of that in terms of our parents, maybe both working, and maybe we had, we were a little bit more, I think we were a little bit more self sufficient. I was a generation, kind of more self sufficient. But the interesting thing about the Gen X generation is think about it, we are the only generation that had both the technology boom, and the old school like we can still remember rotary phones. But then we can also remember, let’s say being in college, and just be starting with computers, let’s say every home having a computer. So I think that we have a really good knowledge of going back to the workforce, a Gen X or is tech savvy, but can also remember the Xerox machine you don’t need. So I think we’re the first generation that kind of grew up with both, as opposed to, let’s say, millennials, who basically all tech, right, all that that’s what they grew up with. So I think that we have a perspective in that way, too.
So I think that we’re, again, we’re kind of sandwich where the sandwich generation was sandwiched in between the boomers and the millennials. And I think that our experience speaks to that diversity that we have and don’t like, we still remember what it was like to go outside and play, as opposed to being inside on the computer playing video games or whatever. So I think we have, we have an old school, new school kind of, you know, sensibility with Gen X demographic, which, which I think that that’s another thing that just makes us unique.
Allegra Sinclair 13:14
I think one of the other things is, I remember the pull and the push as a Gen X or compared to where our parents boom, I guess our parents are boomers. Our parents are Boomer
Kay Kirkman 13:27
Or maybe the silent the next generation up to the elders.
Allegra Sinclair 13:31
Yeah, I remember first time after I had graduated from college, and going out into the real world. And I remember. So when I graduated, that was a different recession. And everybody was laying off. So I had several jobs that would only last a year after I graduated, right? I got the job where I kind of stuck for eight years. I remember when I was getting ready to leave there. And my father thought I was crazy. Because his generation, you got a good job, doing something that you could do never talked about whether or not you liked it or wanted to do it. That was kind of I wasn’t even that it was irrelevant. It just wasn’t thought of, but I got a job. And you stay there forever, until you got a watch or whatever retirements
Kay Kirkman 14:14
Allegra Sinclair 14:18
To do something different in a different place. It wasn’t that he was angry. He was just completely baffled. He did not understand why I thought that was an option. So I think one of the other reasons why Gen X isn’t necessarily talked about as much is that that self reliance, translated into a little bit more self determination in what we would do for work. So it was like there was all of a sudden there were options, right? So boomers might have felt like, hey, the one job they got, depending on when they were born, it could have come up with a Great Depression. They’re grateful to have a gig. They’re grateful to have a solid gig. They’re grateful for that. And it’s not that Gen Xers are ungrateful, but we also had enough space and room to feel a little dissatisfaction. So it’s visible because of that mobility because we weren’t in one place for you to see what life was doing to us or what our career was doing to us. Because when it got to the point where the career was, we got up and left.
Kay Kirkman 15:21
Yeah, yeah. And I do think that we were the first generation to start doing that. But I also feel like, even though we were doing that, so we were, we were feeling that courage to say, wait a minute, I don’t really like this, let me find something new. But to your point, I feel like we still had, that, that voice or that message in our ear that we had grown up with, from our parents. So I do feel like there might have been, I know, for me, there was a push pull in terms of, yes, I had a passion or something I wanted to go after, but I did still sort of hear my parents voice of get a good job, you know, get a good job with the county or, you know, get a good job with it fill in the blank. Well, I saved the county because both my parents worked for the county, Westchester County, New York, for you know, five years and they retire with it, what and I, my parents are my absolute heroes and idols. And they, God loved them, they never ever pushed me. Now, they gently suggested, you know, that I get a trade or I get something that’s, you know, more stable, but they never really, they weren’t pushy with it. But they definitely sort of got tried to guide me in that direction.
And like you said, it was kind of like an act now that, you know, I know what I want to do kind of thing. So I do think that there was a little bit of even though we were going for it, I think that we still had that voice in our head with what is acceptable, and what is the quote, unquote, right thing to do is to get a job, to stay at that job to make sure that it’s something that we can talk about, at brunch with our friends, and be a be a little impressive, you know. So I do think that there was of that in our, in our generation, which now that we are kind of in our 50s. And you know, our late 40s 40s, late 40s, early 50s, we’re starting to reconsider that, you know, the for those of us who did choose that path, we’re starting to say, Wait a minute. Yeah, this sounds really nice that that brunch, but I’m kind of burnt out. And oh, yeah. I always like to do painting or photography. And I’m not really doing that anymore. So what’s up with that? You know, so I do feel like that kind of thing is happening now.
Allegra Sinclair 17:59
I can very clearly remember when I was graduating, and I wanted to go into training and development, because I always had this vision of helping people see the best version of themselves way before Oprah talked about living your best life. Right where that phrase came around I, what I’m on the planet to do is encourage people and help them be more of whatever it is that they’ve decided they wanted to be. But we didn’t have this language. We didn’t have like coaching. I wanted to be a development. And I just remember my parents thinking that was like the most ridiculous thing that I had ever suggested. And what’s interesting about that is I came from teachers. So my uncle Alan was the minister, the Prime Minister of Education in Jamaica, my father’s to make it. So like my father’s father was a teacher. And then he like ran a school. My father’s mother was a teacher. I’m like, I come on. Why is it so absurd to you that I’m leaning towards trading into
Kay Kirkman 18:59
it is is teaching that’s
Allegra Sinclair 19:02
DNA. But yes, they thought that was weird. I should do marketing. That was like more acceptable and more viable. Right? There were more people talking about that. But I think the other thing is, we had such different methods of viewing the world and such different ways of communicating about what we saw. So whereas like later in life, like I can remember having conversations with my mom when I was probably in my 30s. And she was in her 50s. And she would talk about things that she had wanted to do. And I never knew those things. And I’m looking at her like, Well, why didn’t you do that? And she’s looking at me, like, how did I birth this?
Exactly. And I’m like, if you wanted to do that, why didn’t you do it? And she’s like, Oh, well, you know, that wasn’t for me. So they was what she was trying to tell me was that at the time she was coming up, that wasn’t something that women would readily have done. But what I heard was, oh, well, she didn’t really want it bad enough, just because of the way. Right. So I came from a time when I would say, I don’t know what I want, but I know what I don’t want. So apparently, I’m in my life through a little process of elimination. Be saying, we would arrive at the same place might even be feeling the same emotions, but we would talk about it so differently, because I would, I’m just not happy, or I’m bored, or, Yes, I’m making more money than I’ve ever made. But I don’t care. That was alien to her. She was feeling all those things in her career as well. But she would never have talked about it.
Kay Kirkman 20:48
Yes, yes. I think I think that the conversation with is different with the two generations and probably still is, right? It’s, it’s a different way of looking at it. It’s, it’s the, well, well, you just didn’t do that. But women just didn’t do that. Versus I’m not happy. I know what I don’t want. So I’m about to go on a little adventure. And figure out I’m going to I’m going to try some things I’m going to try some things on. I’m going to see what I like I’m going to see how I feel. And that is a different type of conversation, then that the baby boomer or the what they call the silent generation, which is the generation after the baby boomer generation. So yes. And I think that the way you talk about it, also is the lens through which you act, right. So the way about it is how you do it. And so I feel that just as the example that you gave, you actually went about that exploration process where your mom was like, well, that’s not something that I would do. And even and it’s funny, because what it sounded like from what you just said was, like you said, like, Who is this alien child who was spawned? You know, she it was so far into her that you would even say that it’s funny because I talked to Gen Xers who are the same way. Even when I talk about finding your passion and going for what you want in your career after a certain age people are like, are you serious? Yeah, I gotta pay the bills. That’s always the first question that I get. Yes,
Allegra Sinclair 22:35
I hear. I hear that occasionally. But I’m dying to ask. So your parents? Yes. Do they know you have a podcast?
Kay Kirkman 22:42
Well, my dad has passed away. But yes, my mom knows that I have a podcast. She does.
Allegra Sinclair 22:47
And Does your mom know that your podcast is to help people find the work in this world that they were meant to do?
Kay Kirkman 22:55
Oh, no, she knows all that knows
Allegra Sinclair 23:02
about that, right? Because if she comes from the generation, it’s a more practical and imagining. So see that look, my mom gave me like, how did I give birth to this? I’m thinking yeah, Mama. Signing sugar, you show us about what?
Kay Kirkman 23:16
Yeah, you know what the cool thing about my mom is, like I said, Let me tell you something. I can go to my mom today and say, Mom, you know what, I think that I want to start a career as an underwater basket weaver, and I’m going to pack up, and I’m going to move to Bora Bora. And I’m going that’s what I’m going to do. She’d be like, you would be fabulous at that. And I totally support you. I mean, that’s how she is she no idea of what she feels like would be best for me. But she has such a How can I say she she feels like I can do anything that that I want to do. And she you know, she just has that she’s such a cheerleader. And she’s such an encourager that she that just wouldn’t you know, whatever I want to do and this is my whole life. Whatever I want to do. She supports it. 100% Well, you know what a kid do you need a uniform for that? Can I can I fucking get your Can I wash your Can I wash your uniform for you? You know, we can I dry it out for you the underwater basket weaving? I love very Yeah, that’s how she is. So I don’t know, like I can only speak to I mean, my mom is very unique, and she’s a special wonderful person, but she’s just such an encourager. So. So and I do think that that kind of plays into it too, because I think that some parents are kind of like my mom was like, while they have their idea of What they think you should do have, you know, for many parents, they still will encourage you to do what it is you feel is best, you know? So that’s that’s kind of how, that’s how my mom rolls. So I don’t know, I can’t really speak to, to, to what what in general would happen, but yeah, she’s,
Unknown Speaker 25:19
you could speak to your period.
Kay Kirkman 25:22
Allegra Sinclair 25:23
My mom passed away several years ago. But she also was that so she would think to herself, and her face would tell on her putting is talking about, but the words out of her mouth would be, oh, I think you can do that. So I think that is awesome. And I wondered, sometimes when I would say something that I knew she just thought was so weird. I just wished that she had a different communication style. So I could have poked that a little bit. Okay, right now, what are you thinking? I can’t read that facial expression.
Kay Kirkman 25:52
But I will say that when I was going, I was just going to say I just thought of something. When I told my mom that I had a podcast. She said, Oh, she said, Well, how do you make money with? You know, that was her first? Oh, yeah, she’s all about the Benjamins. But you know, so she was like, a valid question. Yeah, exactly. Exactly. I was like, Well, no, you know, it’s, it’s something that I’m just kind of doing. I’m doing it for a hobby, and I just want to get my message out there, you know, and that’s when she was like, I will bless her heart, lets her.
Allegra Sinclair 26:27
Actually, my mom did a podcast, she talked about her favorite. She did. She talked about her favorite podcast, or her favorite soap opera, which is the young and the restless. And she would have different events. So she would do like a reaction show every week, trying to remember what the show was, it was called the Genoa City girls. And she had a fake name, because she just knew she was going to get so famous that she didn’t want people who can use the fake name, my aunt use a fake name. When my sister I visited we use fake names. So yes, she was like podcasts as an art form. But she really wanted, she really wanted to be on a reality TV show because she thought that our family would be funny. And she wanted to make a lot of money. And she thought that was a way to do it. And I was like, don’t you think like, it would be super intrusive and you don’t have any private life. She’s like, Oh, those people are just faking it on those shows. We could fake it. And I was like, Okay, now it was, it was my turn to look at her like, what on earth is going on? She was a reality TV show The woman who thinks wearing Vaseline on your eyelashes a little bit sweaty?
Kay Kirkman 27:35
I wonder where that came from? Do you think she I don’t know by you?
Allegra Sinclair 27:39
I don’t know. But she was like, 7576 when she was telling me this. I don’t know what she might say she was funny. But I didn’t know what she might have said, but I know where it came from. I’m blaming cable. My grandmother would come up with something crazy out of her mouth. And my grandmother lived to be 96. When she would come up with something. We would all look at each other and be like, Yeah, we blame cable she had never seen before.
Kay Kirkman 28:12
That’s fine. Okay. It might that might be the root of it. Cable.
Allegra Sinclair 28:21
But I have a different question. So as we’re, as you’re working with, so I know you do a lot of public speaking, you do a lot of training inside corporations, right? To help them. How to communicate better, I think you said business writing public speaking. So you do a lot of pouring into corporations in order to help the human resources in there. And when I say human resource, I mean the people in order to help the people work together better. So are there specific tools or tricks? Or are there things that Gen X folks should bear in mind in order to be successful in our current work environment?
Kay Kirkman 29:01
Great question. I think that one of the things that the the Gen X demographic needs to do in terms of communication is, well, two things First, to be because we think about a Gen Xers now we have this wealth of experience, you’ll even it doesn’t matter how long you’ve been doing something you’ve been in the workforce for a while, right? So you have just developed a bunch of different skills. And so there is the first part of it is communicating your value to your employer, and not just resting on your laurels, that you’ve been there a long time or that you’ve been doing something a long time, but constantly communicating that value in terms of results, right. So speaking about your results in such a way that it communicates your value to your team or to your organization. And then the second part I would say is is being able to pivot and being able to grow and change with the times and being open to, let’s say feedback about changing because I think one of the things about our generation is, even though yes, we are the generation that were, we would think about, Okay, do I like this, do I want to do this, I do think that we are change resistant as a whole. And so I feel like being able to pivot and change and also being open, you know, of communication, being open to changes and being willing to discuss change and, and being willing to pivot. And, and having I think, with the in terms of communication, I think just having those crucial conversations about change, or differences, or pivoting are crucial, and just always reinventing yourself, and figuring out ways to do that. So I think that those would be the two things would be communicating your value, and then just being open to change conversations.
Allegra Sinclair 31:10
I love those, the first point about communicating your value, I think is so so critical. The only thing that I would be bold enough to add on top of that is, it’s important to communicate your value. Now, I’m gonna say this differently, because I’m not saying that other people determine what your value is. So for those of you who have been listening to the show for more than five minutes, you know, that’s not what I write, I’m just saying, as a rule, I don’t talk about letting other people assign your value. But in a work setting, what I’m saying is if you communicate your value to the organization, in a way that’s incongruent with their values, so if you value the fact that you spend a ton of time with each person on your team, but your immediate boss or your overall division values speed, you could be communicating way that like, look at this value, I spent an average of six hours a week with each of my team members that might not serve you well. So I absolutely agree, cosign I’m waving, I’m wearing the t shirt about communicating your value in a results oriented way. But it’s important that you know what the organization values as well, that doesn’t have anything to do with my value as a person, I’m talking about what you’re bringing to the organization, because what I think we do is, we’ll decide that something’s important to us, and we’ll focus on that, but we don’t take into account what the organization might love.
Kay Kirkman 32:36
I love that point. I love that point. It’s almost like we operate in a bubble, or in a silo. And especially if we’re good at what we do. And like I said, we’ve been doing it for a while, there can be a little bit of arrogance about it, you know, but but at the same time, kind of not communicating value, because it’s like, well, I know what to do. And I know I’m good to tell anybody that. Right. But I want to piggyback on what you said about it. Because it sounds like what you were saying is aligning when you when you’re communicating value, aligning that with the with the agenda or the I love the word priorities. So what are the priorities of the organization? And how does what I bring to the table align with those priorities? And are they coming? Exactly? Yeah, exactly. I think that that’s a good, that’s how you get your feelings hurt
Allegra Sinclair 33:31
in. When you come in, and you are ready, you are closed in all the examples of how you did this amazing thing. And the organization, different ruler for the last six months, and everybody’s Your feelings are hurt. Their feelings are hurt. It’s not a good. So I early and often you need to figure out what tools is the is the organization using to measure you? Yes, right. Yes. And I think yes, yeah. Whatever your goal. Exactly, exactly. I worked with a client last year who couldn’t understand why she was in a performance improvement place. And the bottom line was she was measuring things differently. Right. But neither of them. Neither she nor her immediate supervisor had a conversation about what success looked like. So I loved that consistent communicating their values with a results orientation, right, because organizations are made up of people, but they aren’t people. The organization doesn’t care that you felt good about something. The organization cares that your results were what you promised. But the second around being open to change conversation, I think is also critical. There’s a lot of people who aren’t good at starting the conversations there’s people are good at having the conversations. It’s a practice skill. comfort with. Communication around change is a skill. It’s not something You just fall into it never done it before. So it is okay to step back and get help with that. Now I’m gonna throw a difference there. Oops, I’m sorry, go ahead.
Kay Kirkman 35:10
Oh, no, I just I was agreeing with us. And I think it is I think it’s, it’s so important to be able to develop that skill.
Allegra Sinclair 35:18
So we’re still in the middle of it. So I don’t expect you to have the complete answer. But based on the time that we’re recording this, we’re in the middle of a pandemic. So a lot of people are now working remotely. So have you seen enough people kind of figuring out how to continue to be seen as successful from a distance?
Kay Kirkman 35:42
You know, what’s so funny is, so of course, I’ve had to pivot in terms of my training business with COVID. And one of the one of my most popular and most requested trainings is teleworking? And how do we continue to be productive? How do we reduce fractions? How do we show up in a work environment when we’re all virtual? Right? And so it’s, I think that the basic, the basic tools, and the basic elements are still the same. But I do feel that when we’re talking about the pandemic, and we’re talking about people working remotely, I think that it’s even more crucial to initiate conversation, and and constantly be checking in to make sure that you’re, as we were talking about before aligned with the priorities. Because I think that in a virtual environment, it makes it even more challenging to do that. So I don’t know if I’m quite answering your question, or if I’m,
Allegra Sinclair 36:52
you are. So let me tell you what I heard, then we’ll know. So what I heard, it is critical to continue to do the things that make you successful when we’re not in a pandemic. But the way that you do that changes a little bit when you don’t have face to face time. Absolutely. As much afternoon, as I think all of us are, right. Exactly. Right. And more faster. Right. So, yeah, so there were side conversations, or you’d catch up with someone in the hallway and be able to say, hey, how such. So when you’re not in the same place, you need to do that differently. And I was all with you about the distraction things. So I’ve been working remote for a long time. But even I have to tell you that in the last six months, it has it hits differently when you have to write. So when working from home before I was giddy, I could work in my pajamas. It was a good thing. I was just as productive. Right? But that just like come April and May of this year, I was like, Why am I feeling distracted? Nothing has changed for me really yet. But it was all the distractions in my mind, right? Because I’m fully formed. I don’t show up just between my work hours, and like, do my work. Right. So I think acknowledging where we are, and understanding that, hey, it might take a little bit more effort is fine. But I also think it’s a great opportunity for us to brush up on our communication skills. So I tell my sister all the time, I blame social media, because she thinks an entire conversation is like a one and a half minute Vox or an emoji. And I’m like, I’m a girl woman. Thank you, I’ll send her like a five minute Vox because she will have asked me a question. And I’m thinking, we’re having a conversation and respond, it’ll be like five minutes, and then she’ll respond is like 15 seconds long. And I’m like, You didn’t answer any of my questions. You didn’t acknowledge that you heard. If this was a work situation, it would be problematic.
Kay Kirkman 39:00
Because listen, right? There’s already and this is one thing that I teach a lot in my communications, trainings, is this whole idea of this passive language or passive communication? You know, it’s like, we have these conversations where we your example, with your sister is a little bit different. But what I’m thinking is the 15 seconds versus the, you know, more involved. response on your end. I just feel like our communication styles often are so different, that if we’re not intentional about not being passive and being very, very clear on what exactly it is that we’re trying to say, and not assuming that the other person understands what we’re our 15 Second, you know, response. I think that we find that we start to get into challenges or or issues.
Allegra Sinclair 39:54
We have to agree and they’re harder to fix. Yeah, so because could certainly have had that before, right? So you could send someone an email that landed wrong, but you find out about that you get your desk, you go find the person, hey, I think this may have landed wrong, here’s what I was trying to say you can do that. If you’re in the same space, it is more chat, you can still do it remotely, but it takes a little bit more work and a little recognition. Yeah, it takes me a recognition that there was work for you to do.
Kay Kirkman 40:23
Absolutely. And I do think it kind of starts at the top. So if you’re a leader, or your leader does have to set the tone, you know, the speed of the leader is always the speed of the team. So that can also be a problem. If you have a supervisor who is more passive in their communication. To your point, when you’re in the office, there is more opportunity to get up from your desk and walk into your supervisors office and initiate that conversation. But in a virtual environment. Again, like you said, it’s going to take more effort, it’s going to take more intention. And having those crucial conversations, I mean, you almost have to put that on your calendar, you have to put that on your agenda as something that you need to do. And it’s not something that you can just, it’s not going to get done just by osmosis again, you have to be very clear that that’s what you’re going to do. And it’s it’s so necessary, especially in a virtual environment.
Allegra Sinclair 41:21
So what kinds of things can people expect to learn here? giggle about from your new
Kay Kirkman 41:28
blog? Guest? Yeah, I was gonna back around talking about your show. Yeah, my show my show my show.
Allegra Sinclair 41:40
Most people listen to four or five podcasts. So mine can’t be the only show they listen to.
Kay Kirkman 41:47
is definitely in the top five years is definitely in the top five. Yes, so my show well, I. So I always wanted to have my own radio show, I have a radio background. That’s kind of where I started. And I love the medium of audio. I love the media of audio. So I kind of grew up listening to I hope that’s not It’s not controversial, but like Howard Stern, and you know, his interviews, his long form interviews, and just really being able to spend time talking to people about their journey about what got them to where they are, how did they develop their career passion, what were some of the challenges. And so that was something that I always wanted to do. And so my show will be very conversation based. So when I talk to my guests I’m looking to, to hear about their journey. You know what, because my listeners are Gen Xers, so they can be a different Adrian’s but it’s targeted towards Gen Xers who are looking to be inspired, you know, they maybe they’ve been doing something for a long time. And they’re thinking, you know, what, I always did want to do so and so, or maybe it’s not even switching their current role, it’s just that they’re a little bit burned out. So maybe there’s another assignment or a project that they want to do. And they want the courage or they want some motivation to go ahead and ask their supervisor brings something to the table, something that they could work on, maybe they just want to improve their skills in a certain area. Or maybe they just want to learn something new just to keep increasing their knowledge. Right. So what I want to provide is that backstory, you know, how did you come to this place where either you developed your career passion, or if you’ve been doing it for a while, like, you know, I do have some guests on the show that discover their career passion and have been doing it for years? What so what was that about? Like, what was the mindset? What was the self talk that you gave yourself to enable you to be able to, to do this what you love for so long? Right? So so it will be conversation based in terms of I will do interviews with people who are either currently pursuing their passion, or who, you know, who are in that process, they’ve identified it, and they’re making very valid steps towards it. The other thing that I will do is, you know, as we were talking about communication and things of that nature, I will have practical, practical information for someone who’s like, Okay, that’s great. Like, I’m inspired, I’m motivated, love the story. But now what do I do? You know, what do I how do I start the, you know, what I’d be like, is great, you know, I love hearing the story. But how do I start this process? I don’t know what I want to do. I’ve been doing this for so long, that I’m kind of clueless on where to begin. And so we will talk about steps, you know, for me, in terms of, of walking towards my passion, contracting was really the route that I took, you know, I mean, so I’ve been an independent contractor for years. And I did work in corporate settings for, you know, 1515 years, before I stepped out on my own. But for me contracting was a way to stair step that process, you know, to start my own company to be a contractor, to even I mean, any, pretty much anything that you do, you could find a way to contract yourself out to someone to do that, and start to kind of test out, you know, what that would look like, you know, so that’s one way, that’s one technique that someone could use to if they have a passion, or if they have an interest in area, think about contracting or thinking about kind of freelancing, there’s so many different right now, in this day and age, there are so many different ways that you can try on a career passion, without even leaving your job. You know, I mean, even just starting by Googling, whatever it is that you’re interested in, and you’d be surprised at how much information Facebook groups, interest groups, there’s so many things. So yes, we will have the interviews, but we’ll also have those really, those really concrete steps that you can start taking to actually make that dream of going towards your career, passion and reality. So that’s what really you can expect from the show.
Allegra Sinclair 46:34
And, like, Guess that’s a whole other conversation, this, this is a whole other conversation. This is a whole other conversation. I loved every moment of that. Thank you so much for being with us. I know that if people want to get more of you, you do have a gift for people, if they want to get more from you Tell us quickly what that gift is and where they get it.
Kay Kirkman 46:56
Yes. So you can go to my website, which is your gen x career.com. And once you go to the website, what I have for you is a dream job discovery list. So what I found from a lot of my clients was again, just like I talked about, I have no clue what I want to do, I don’t know where to start, start, I don’t know where to start. So this is a list of over 200 job titles that can start to spark your creative creativity, about what you potentially want to do. So this can spark your creativity about what you might want to do. So it’s 200 job titles. And there’s also a short exercise that you can do to start to open your mind to your creativity and start to think about what you really want to do what you’re really passionate about. So if you go to my website, your Genex career.com You can download that dream job discovery list to get you started on brainstorming about what it is that you are passionate about, and what you could possibly do as your career passion.
Allegra Sinclair 48:05
Awesome. Thank you so much for pouring into my audience. I truly appreciate you stay right there
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